What we Know About Climate Change

A new video from Peter Sinclair who outlines some of the very basic and elementary facts and proofs of man made global warming, and how they are supported.

I’ve known about man made global warming since the 1980’s, when I used to point it out as a good reason for increasing production of nuclear energy to the biomass and other alternative energy proponents in alt.sci.energy while arguing pro nuclear energy. It wasn’t a very convincing argument back then, and even while making it I thought we had a couple of centuries to get there. I would argue by saying that nuclear was inevitable because in a couple of centuries it was the only reasonable source and we would have to use it eventually anyway — why not start now? Not many bought it.

They weren’t buying it back then since at that point the left was highly populist and anti science. They would chant things like “Split wood, not Atoms!” and “The only physics I know is Ex-Lax” at university speeches when real scientists would try to point out that nuclear energy production wasn’t as dangerous as it was portrayed to be in “The China Syndrome”.  That was a loosing battle back then when I watched Amory Lovins and crew shut down Rancho Seco as a large wave of anti-science and unreason swept over the left.

Democrat Bill Proxmire was attacking NASA and other science institutions at every opportunity, new wave cults were taking over the left, and even some secular humanists whom I highly respected were falling sway to anti-science forces for politically expedient reasons around nuclear non proliferation. Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov were not as supportive of increased nuclear energy production as they could have been, and joined with the left on that due to Reagan’s missile defense program among other things. Those were depressing times.

So here we are – thirty years later. We got the worst of outcomes from the left going populist and the right giving up for fiscal reasons – it was cheaper to burn coal. Meanwhile the Nuclear proliferation Djinn was out of the bottle even back then – Pakistan and India now have nuclear weapons, as does North Korea. Iran is on fast pace to get them as well. We also use more of the dirtiest source of power, coal, than ever before.

Politically the forces of populism that created this worst of both worlds scenario have flipped topsy-turvy – the left got a new generation of pro-science rebels and in the face of reality even old guard environmentalists like Patrick Moore who founded Greenpeace, and Stewart Brand of Whole Earth Catalog fame have converted to pro nuclear energy. Some defense oriented Democrats are even beginning to see sense in missile defenses shared with our allies and have put aside knee-jerk complaining about missile defense.

On the right, religious fundamentalists now rule the Republican roost and  anti-science populism has now infested my party. So here comes my mea culpa — for political expediency and because I don’t agree with the approach of cap and trade, because I thought we had much more time, I’ve spoken out against the Anti-AGW movement.

My best attempt at convincing myself and others was back here, and as you can see from the strikeouts, and the other arguments since deflated many times, I didn’t do too great a job. You can even see me repeating denialist talking points in the comments, even though I was really trying to cut down on alarmism. Again, this was wrong.

If there were an article I could retract from my blog that would be the one. I can’t with any integrity just pull it however, I like truth best – so there it is, my guilty moment. Where I didn’t speak whole truths, where I omitted the fact that AGW is very real and measurable right now. It’s made me unhappy for a long time that I would subsume science to politics so easily, so consider this my confession and my attempt to make it right.

My stance on the  issue still hasn’t changed much mind you – I think that the answer lies in high energy environmentalism. If we are to live on a clean planet then cheap and clean energy is the only reasonable means I see to getting there. I can’t support starving people to fight AGW, but I recognize we have to do something and quickly. We can’t wait another century as I had thought — we must start now.